Softball Concludes Nine-Game Homestand Against Bradley
March 17, 2008
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Softball Concludes Nine-Game Homestand Against Bradley<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
<?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Kansas softball, 21-6 after winning nine of its last 10 games, will conclude a nine-game homestand with a doubleheader against Bradley Tuesday afternoon before heading to Oklahoma this weekend for its Big 12 Conference opener. First pitch with Bradley is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Arrocha Ballpark.
Kansas has gone 6-1 in its first two weekends at home and has won nine of its last 10 contests to post a 21-6 overall record, its best start under coach Tracy Bunge and the program’s best start since going 22-5 in 1992. The Jayhawks are coming off a strong offensive showing in which they outscored opponents 32-8 and out-hit opponents 35-18 to go 3-0 in last weekend’s Kansas Invitational. Junior Val Chapple exploded for four home runs to bring in 13 RBIs on an .875 average over the last three games. She is hitting .350 for the season, behind fellow junior Dougie McCaulley’s team-leading .424 average. Chapple leads the team with 49 total bases, 21 RBIs and six homers. McCaulley has connected for a team-high 36 hits. Three other Jayhawks are also hitting above .300 including senior Addy Lucero (.320) who, after seeing limited time in the beginning of the season, has recently been inserted into the lineup making four starts in the last five games. Sophomores Amanda Jobe and Ally Stanton are hitting .313 and .310, respectively. Jobe and freshman Brittany Hile join Chapple with double-digit RBIs as Jobe has batted in 14 and Hile 17. In the bullpen, junior Valerie George has amassed a 10-1 record with a team-best 0.76 ERA. In 73.2 innings of work, George has struck out 83 batters and limited opposing hitters to a .174 average. Sophomore Sarah Vertelka (6-3, 1.85 ERA) and freshman Allie Clark (5-2, 2.73 ERA) round out the Kansas battery.
Scouting the Opponent
After edging WichitaState two games to one in a three-game series during its conference opener last weekend, Bradley brings just an 8-4 overall record into Tuesday’s game as eight of its contests have been cancelled so far this season. Bradley is led by freshman Jess Boeger who is batting .400 and shares the team lead with 14 hits, including five doubles and a pair of home runs. Sophomore Amanda Clack, who also has 14 hits and is second with a .378 average, leads the squad with 11 RBIs, five walks and three homers. Sophomore Janay Mitchell (.344 average) is the only other Brave with double digit hits with 11 and has stolen a team-best four bases. Pitchers Ashley Birdsong and Rebecca Bishop have seen the most time in the circle for Bradley. Birdsong, a junior, leads the team with 67 strikeouts, fifth in the Missouri Valley Conference, in 54.1 innings of work and is 6-2 in 10 appearances, including seven starts. Bishop is the second-most tenured thrower with 14.0 innings under her belt and a 1-0 record in four appearances. The senior hurler has a 4.50 ERA giving up 20 hits for nine earned runs.
Round Trip Ticket
Junior Val Chapple tied a school record with three home runs in the first game of a doubleheader against Buffalo on Friday, March 14. Chapple tallied two-run homers in the first, third and fourth innings as she helped lead the Jayhawks to a 9-0, five-inning victory. KU’s third baseman tied current assistant coach Christi Musser’s KU single-game home run record set on April 21, 2001 against IowaState. The three roundtrippers also rank second nationally as she becomes the 34th player in history to hit three homers in a single game.
The Jayhawks’ bats have been especially hot as of late as KU boasted double-digit hits in each of its three games over the weekend and six times this season. Kansas has connected for eight or more hits in each of the last eight games and is averaging just over 11 hits per game in that span.
Kansas tallied two doubles in its last game versus Louisiana Tech to extend its doubles streak to nine games dating back to March 2. For the season, KU has at least one double in 16 of its 27 games, nine of which had multiple doubles. Additionally, the Jayhawks have at least one extra base hit in all of their contests except five.
Kansas opens 2008 Big 12 Conference play at Oklahoma on Friday, March 21. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Norman. Kansas and the Sooners will play another game Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. The Jayhawks will then return to Arrocha Ballpark for a four game homestand. KU will host MissouriState in a doubleheader Tuesday, March 26 at 3 p.m. before playing a weekend series with Texas Tech, March 29-30.